The owners of the restaurant chains ASK Italian and Zizzi – Azzurri Group – are to follow Pizza Express’s example by removing the eight percent admin fee that’s levied on credit and debit card payments. The change to Azzurri’s policy will commence in November.
Earlier in 2015 the Azzurri Group – which has a 5,000-strong workforce and serves over 14 million diners per year – underwent an ownership change. This signalled the start of a broad review of all employee pay and benefits. As part of that review, Azzurri have decided that every penny of all tips received will now go towards their staff.
The review is expected to be completed by the end of October. The company also plans the introduction of the National Living Wage, as well as other overhauls concerning how their staff are currently rewarded for their efforts.
“We wholeheartedly believe our employees are an essential part of our business and have always sought to reward them fairly,” said the chief executive of the Azzurri Group, Steve Holmes. “Our team members are crucial in delivering unparalleled customer service and ensuring that every customer’s experience at Zizzi and ASK Italian is a great one.”
“The review into staff pay and benefits that begun earlier this year demonstrates our commitment to be recognised as a company that values and rewards our staff for their fantastic skills, loyalty and hard work. As a leader in the casual dining sector, we are wholly committed to following best practice as well as leading the way for other players in the industry.”
At the beginning of September Pizza Express announced that they were scrapping the eight percent administration fee on employee tips. This followed intense media pressure after several outlets had questioned the way major brands such as Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge dealt with tipping.
Pizza Express introduced a new automated system at the beginning of October that ensured that all tips were collected and distributed in their entirety among their staff. Under the new system, thirty percent of all credit and debit card paid tips will be passed to kitchen staff and cleaners, while seventy percent will be passed to the waiting staff.
“We have always been, and will continue to be, transparent about our tipping policies. We also agree with calls for greater clarity across the industry in order to ensure that staff are given a fair deal, and to enable customers to make an informed choice when it comes to tipping.” said the CEO of PizzaExpress, Richard Hodgson, at the time. “I’m committed to ensuring that we continue to work on improving the image of our sector, and to ensure we appeal to talented, ambitious people with the right mix of skills. We are playing our part by investing heavily in apprenticeships and the creation of 2,500 new jobs over the next few years; and we welcome the Government’s decision on the Living Wage we will be adopting in full.”